Here is the real review I did for the Emo's show with The Naked Empire, The Deaf Ears, and The Boxing Lesson.
Living in Austin, live music is pretty prominent. Local bands are plentiful and venues always packed. But it seems as of lately, the sparkle is dying. That inspiring act that I would come across often has slowed down to rare occurances. So I’m on a mission tonight. A mission to have my flame lit and my faith in music reinstated.
I walk in from the Texas cold, and I say that because it’s really not that cold, but I am a Texan, so yes, 50 degrees is cold. I get greeted by the warmth of Emo’s inside and quickly realized I missed the first act of the night, Tina Rodriguez, but I then became witness to a nice stage production, and for a split second, thought I heard Matt Bellamy belting out above the crowd. Then came to realize it was Dustin Maxey, from The Naked Empire. This five-piece group that had the biggest light set up I’ve ever seen on the small inside Emo’s stage, and was pushing the sound limitations with their rhythm driven full on accompaniment. The drums, rhythm guitar, and bass were sautéed quite nicely between the keys and Dustin’s full force vocals. While I wished for a bit more texture, the set was loud, powerful, and a good display of the type of music our local scene should go for. It was full sounding and completely admirable to see local musicians pushing themselves for this level of epic sounds.
After a nice lonestar to warm myself up, Austin’s The Deaf Ears took the stage. Not going to lie, the first thing I noticed was the drummer’s technique. He was playing through his wrists, where it was beautifully fluid and seemed so effortless. Between the keyboard, harmonica, and the effect mic, Joel Mullins led the avid listener on a journey between hearts. At times feeling the jazzy pain that was put out there, so vulnerable and always appreciated. With the entire 4-piece band being ex- Tammy Hall Machine members, you are quick to realize they bring back the sincerity in rock music that I’ve missed.
As they finished their set, the crowd was waiting in anticipation for the next act, and to be honest, I was right there with them. I’ve heard numerous good things about our local psychrock group, The Boxing Lesson. This 3 piece can make more noise that any band out there. And when I say noise, I mean this sound that intrigues my ears and draws me to listen intently because if I miss one note, one beat, one sound, the world could very well implode. With Kevin driving the rhythm, and Jaylinn’s live synths and samples I believed that I had died and my soul was in the outer limits of space. Then Paul’s vocals, which could pass for a mash up of Robert Plant and Geddy Lee, and guitar playing brought the texture I was craving for all night. It was kind of ridiculous, how much of a daze I was in while witnessing Paul climb into his own world and portray what I love to see in musicians. The inspiring and completely absorbing aspects of becoming every note that is played, that appear in the body movements, seemingly sporadic but tied in with the music. Plus, the cover of Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit, which is a personal favorite, just took me to a time in music I’ve always wanted to experience. So a big thank you goes out to The Boxing Lesson for bring inspiration back to music and portraying it in great style.
All in all, Emo’s was definitely a good choice for my Friday night and I anticipate the next batch of inspiration to flow through to their next crowds.